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Brief case study – “Moral Maze – A dilemma on what to tell your client!”

One of our clients asked if we could translate short pieces of text from English into Italian. These had been inserted into a document previously translated into Italian. It’s always challenging working on another person’s translation because of style and quality. Also, from a legal perspective, who will verify or certify the completed translated document!

Although we were not asked to review the document our translator made a few derogatory comments regarding the original translation – which was a warning signal!

As a rule, we take a stance not to criticise other translation work but only to make brief comments to the client highlighting examples of our findings.

However, in this instance it was particular difficult as the text was evidently machine translated, with the simplest of errors that no professional translator would have made.

Ethically, our dilemma is what to tell our client? It’s important to bring this to their attention. However, from a business perspective if no changes are made “do we want our translated work associated with poor quality translation”? Alternatively, do we correct the translation at no cost to the client?

The outcome is that we decided to amend the machine translated text. This was done at no cost to the client. From this decision, we satisfied our business needs in that the overall translation is ‘fit for business purposes’.

Together with the added benefit that we hope to have improved working relations with the Italians!

I want to know more about previously translated material. Please contact me